Apr 6, 2017
Pitney Bowes held a Software Technology Analyst Summit in Half Moon Bay, California, on February 28 to March 1. It was the first dedicated technology analyst event in several years for the company. With 34 analysts from 19 firms in attendance from around the world, including senior executives from Pitney Bowes, the Software team was making a statement that they were ready to put their corporate wide go-to-market strategy center stage with the analyst community.
Pitney Bowes had put together a comprehensive and highly informative 1.5 day program to bring participants up-to-date on its software strategy, latest business developments, and latest software innovations. Next to the agenda and scheduled 1:1 meetings with senior management, participants had plenty of opportunities to network or to get live demonstrations on some of Pitney Bowes’ latest software innovations.
Marc Lautenbach, President & CEO at Pitney Bowes, kicked off the Summit by talking participants through the changes Pitney Bowes went through since he joined the company in 2012. In his opening comments, Lautenbach laid out his reasoning for coming onboard, which boiled down to Pitney Bowes having the right ingredients to transform itself. As one of his first priorities, Lautenbach recognized the need to clarify the brand and positioning. Today, Pitney Bowes defines itself as being a technology company—not a mailing company or a logistics company—serving global eCommerce markets with solutions and services across the complete eCommerce value chain.
The Software Portfolio
Pitney Bowes’ Software Solutions is led by EVP Bob Guidotti. In his opening remarks, Guidotti stated that Pitney Bowes has 80% of Fortune 500 companies investing in its software. He was candid in his review of the business, noting that “the reality is, we are trying to simplify the message.”
As such, the software business is now based on four key platforms:
- Identify–customer information management solutions
- Locate–location intelligence solutions
- Data–data intelligence solutions
- Communicate–customer engagement solutions
Greg Van den Heuvel, COO of Software Solutions at Pitney Bowes, followed Guidotti to provide more insight into the four key platforms of Identify, Locate, Communicate, and Data. Pitney Bowes is investing for short- and long-term success, focusing on the performance and productivity zones to make top and bottom line numbers, while also looking at transformation and incubation. Separate sessions were offered on each topic. We participated in the Communicate session, which was led by Chris Hall, VP of Product Management at Pitney Bowes.
Pitney Bowes’ Communicate Business
Pitney Bowes introduced the packaging of its Communicate offering in mid-2016. Communicate includes its EngageOne Communication Suite, as well as a range of new capabilities geared towards accelerating digital transformation in the physical and digital world of commerce—the main mission for Pitney Bowes.
During the Communicate session, Hall and his team highlighted the latest enhancements within the Communicate portfolio. Those enhancements included Interactive Personalized Video, Digital Design, and delivery for a mobile-first environment with a conversational user experience (UX).
Pitney Bowes’ Digital Designer was announced in August 2016 and built on EngageOne. The Digital Designer is a web-based (responsive HTML) WYSIWYG design studio that enables business users to design and deploy customer communications for e-mail, SMS, push notifications, web, and mobile apps. The tool also comes with a rules-based engine for segmentation and automation, and real-time reporting capabilities.
Interactive Personalized Video
Ever since the announcement of EngageOne Video (the result of the acquisition of Real Time Content), Pitney Bowes has been aggressively promoting its interactive personalized video solution. Acknowledging the challenges involved in implementing interactive personalized video campaigns, Pitney Bowes introduced EngageOne Video 2.0, which includes dashboard and advanced reporting capabilities, EngageOne Video Director targeting business users to assemble and edit videos on their own, EngageOne Video Cloud to allow business user to easily deploy interactive personalized videos, and default video templates, which initially address four common business cases clients have been deploying. Pitney Bowes plans to expand the number of templates in the future.
An innovation area within Pitney Bowes’ EngageOne portfolio is Conversational UX. Currently, Pitney Bowes is looking to address use cases focusing on digital self-service. Chris Cummings, Senior Product Manager Mobile, has recently joined the team to head up product management in this area. Cummings presented two recent prototypes implementing a bill explainer use case. The first prototype on display was a chatbot for Facebook’s Messenger. This chatbot can communicate with the consumer in a human-similar way. The second demo showed was using voice command technology on Amazon Echo (a voice command-enabled smart-speaker). Cummings added that they are also working on supporting Google Home.
While Pitney Bowes continues to embrace its role in the physical world that ties to its legacy print and mail business, being a technology company is its end goal. The strategic pillar Communicate is critical in Pitney Bowes’ transformation towards this vision. Overall, this event proved to be extremely valuable for analysts to better understand the reasoning behind recent strategic shifts and to get a peek into their upcoming endeavors.
InfoTrends, a division of Keypoint Intelligence, continues to track the customer communications market from the perspectives of consumer preference, business strategy, and investment, as well as through enterprise outsourcing services and the technologies that drive these communications. Our 2017 annual global research is now underway. For more information on how to gain access to the results, contact Deanna Flanick today at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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